How to switch hosting providers without having any down time:
Switching to a new host can be a complicated process. Follow our steps to ensure that your move is both smooth and painless.
- First, you should choose and sign up with your new hosting company. Make sure you do NOT cancel your hosting plan with the hosting provider you’ll be leaving, and do not tell them you will be canceling. Keep this a secret or they could prematurely terminate your site and cause downtime.
- At this point, you should have hosting accounts with two hosting providers (the old and the new one). You will now migrate your entire site from the old host to the new one. If your old and new provider both utilize cPanel, you can proceed to login to the cPanel account of your old host and select the “Backup” option. This contains tools to backup the site’s main public_html folder, as well as any subdomains. Tools to backup your MySQL databases are also located here. Generate a new backup of the whole site and databases. Once this is finished, you can download the backups to your computer. When downloading backups, in addition to downloading the full-site backup, it is recommended to download the other backup files, to be safe. In a separate area on the same page, you will find compressed downloads to your MySQL databases. Download each of these individual databases. Do not decompress any of these files.
Another way to backup your files is by connecting to the old host’s FTP and downloading all your files.
- Login to the cPanel of your new hosting provider and locate the backup page again. You should see an upload button associated with the full-site backup option, often labeled as “Backup Restore”. Select your full-site backup you downloaded in step 2 and upload it. Once this is complete, go back to the Backup page and upload your MySQL database under the “Restore a MySQL Directory” option. Restoring databases can also be done through SSH or phpMyAdmin (cPanel). Emails do not normally transfer, but you can archive your emails from the old host. You can accomplish this by making a POP3 connection to each email address; this way all the old emails are downloaded to your local computer. The new host will not have those old emails, but the new host will be able to get new emails.
Note: Database backup files do not contain information about the usernames, passwords, and permissions associated with each MySQL Database. This information will need to be entered within the MySQL Databases interface within cPanel. Also note that you may have to update the database prefixes within each software’s configuration file. Be sure to update all information accordingly for a smooth transition.
- If you choose to make Host Capitol your new host, we may transfer your entire site (files and databases) over free of charge! If your old host used cPanel, we may be able to transfer emails as well.
- After you have a copy of your site on both hosting accounts, it is time to switch to your new name servers. Access your domain name registrar’s domain control panel and look for a panel/option called “Domain Name Servers” (DNS) or simply “Name Servers”. Your new host will provide you with the correct name servers to use – if you’re unsure what name servers to use, simply contact your new provider.Name servers usually follow this format (actual name server information varies from one host to another):
ns2.yourhostname.comOnce you have the correct name servers to use, update them here to make the change. If you purchased the domain name from your old host, you may need to ask them to make the DNS changes for you; however, most hosting providers do have an option for you to manage your name servers. If no option is present, you can tell them something similar to, “Hello. I have the domain name ______.___ with you; please, change my domain name’s name servers to ___.______.___ and ___.______.___ .”If you bought your domain name from Host Capitol, we are more than happy to help you or even make the DNS change for you.
- Once your DNS changes have been made, you will need to wait 48 hours (two days) before your site will load from the new host. During this 48 hour period, your DNS is propagating world wide and your site will be randomly loading from either the old host or the new host. Once the two days is complete, your site will only be loading from the new host.
- After the 48 hours have passed, your updated DNS will be fully functional. Be sure to test the website and ensure that all features are working properly; when everything is working just like it used to, then you can cancel the old hosting plan. That’s all there is to switching hosts!
Note: If you originally bought your domain name from the old host, do not cancel your domain registration.
If you completed all the above steps, you have successfully switched hosts with no downtime at all!